Dead Poetic with Acceptance and Anadivine
Wednesday · Top Cat's
When Dead Poetic's debut album, Four Wall Blackmail, hit the streets three summers ago, it was a clear-cut case of the-kids-are-alright. Forming the band in 1997 when they were in high school and recording their debut when they were freshly graduated, the Dayton-area quartet (vocalist Brandon Rike, guitarist Zach Miles, bassist Chad Shellabarger, drummer Josh Shellabarger) offered up a shredding set of songs that fit comfortably in the Hardcore realm and yet exhibited a subtlety and nuance often lacking in the genre. In short order, MTV2 picked up the video for "August Winterman" and Dead Poetic was graced with a minor hit, which led to tours with avowed influences like Zao and Stavesacre. Over the past two years, Dead Poetic has grown in numbers, adding second guitarist Todd Osborn, and in maturity, a natural byproduct of processing a lot of life experience at an early age in a compressed time span. The band's latest album, New Medicines, is a work of both volume and depth utilizing a sound that references their Hardcore roots while expanding them exponentially into the pummeling Hard Rock arena with tendrils of Emo/Screamo for counterpoint. There are a great many cross currents swirling within Dead Poetic's newly expanded range. Aligned initially with the Hardcore genre, DP prefers to avoid labels and just wants to be known as a band that works and rocks hard. Additionally, they insist that their contract with primarily Christian label Tooth and Nail and their own personally held Christian beliefs do not combine to make them a Christian band, as is often represented, and their desire to avoid genre tags is equally strong in this regard. The passionate and mature Hard Rock intensity of New Medicines might just be the tonic to drive home Dead Poetic's point. (Brian Baker)
The Cramps with Gore Gore Girls and Foxy Shazam!
Wednesday · Bogart's
In the history of Rock, there has never ever been anything quite like the psychosexual Punkabilly funhouse fury of The Cramps. The Cramps were spewed into existence in 1972 when Cleveland native Erick Purkhiser and Sacramento denizen Christine Wallace met in California, became romantically involved and formed a band, thereby acquiring their now-familiar alter egos: Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach. After a succession of bands, the pair moved to Ohio and then to New York in 1975 where they enlisted the services of Detroit guitarist Bryan Gregory and his drummer sister Pam "Balam" Gregory (replaced by Ohio journalist/Kicks magazine founder Miriam Linna) and started The Cramps. Their European sex shop appearance and swamp-drenched homage to Rock's earliest practitioners — like a cross between the Stooges and Screamin' Jay Hawkins — was miles away from the seminal Punk scene and they became a sensation. With the addition of drummer Nick Knox, The Cramps began self-releasing singles which formed the basis of their Gravest Hits EP after signing to IRS in 1979. The band toured Europe opening for The Police and recorded their debut full length, Songs the Lord Taught Us, in 1980. Gregory left almost immediately after under cloudy circumstances; a dark and checkered career and a reputed heroin addiction led to his demise in 2001. Replaced by the Gun Club's Kid Congo Powers, the Cramps returned with Psychedelic Jungle in 1981. Shortly after, the band sued IRS over unpaid royalties and left the label; it would be nearly 10 years before their records would be available in the States again (1986's A Date With Elvis was available only as an import for years). In the interim, The Cramps have recorded continuously with a variety of players while maintaining an amazing sonic consistency. Lux and Ivy celebrated the band's 25th anniversary in 2001 by re-releasing nearly their entire catalog on their revived Vengeance label, and then recorded their first new album in six years, 2003's excellent Fiends of Dope Island. The Cramps' latest release, the rare live/odds and sods collection How to Make a Monster, shows the band's durability almost three decades after its birth, but it's onstage where Lux and Poison Ivy and The Cramps have always exhibited their visceral originality in its best and most demented light. (BB)
Saturday · Jack Quinn's
Over the course of a nearly 20-year career that has netted 10 extraordinary albums, Patty Larkin has never settled for being merely a Folk-based singer/songwriter. Clearly her talent in this regard would have assured her of success even if she had chosen the rutted path of variational repetition preferred by some of her more uninspired brethren, but Larkin has wisely steered a more challenging and artistically satisfying course for herself. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Larkin is a skilled and innovative guitarist, one who has never shied away from leaving her creative comfort zone in pursuit of more complex and less linear sonic solutions. The result of Larkin's constant experimentation in applying elements of Rock, Jazz and Electronica to her Folk/Pop foundation is an astonishingly diverse catalog of music and a devoted fan base that understands her refusal to follow trends or pander to either the marketplace or even her own fans. Four years ago, at a point in her career when many artists have long since given up on originality in favor of the safety of repeating themselves, Larkin reinvented herself on the surprising and acclaimed Regrooving the Dream. After a solid year of touring Dream, Larkin decamped to the isolation of a shed on Cape Cod to create the moody and expansive Red=Luck, a work that was inspired in equal measures by Neil Young's Harvest and the events of 9/11. Larkin's current touring cycle is another jaunt through Red=Luck's stellar material, but like subsequent tour legs in the past, she might well be working out some of the songs and sounds that will wind up on her next new album. The unexpected is a given; when Patty Larkin takes the stage, expect the incredible. (BB)